Enhanced Optically–Excited THz Wave Emission by GaAs Coated with a Rough ITO Thin Film

Anup Kumar Sahoo, Shi Ying Kang, Peichen Yu, Ci Ling Pan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we report enhancement of terahertz (THz) radiation with indium-tin-oxide (ITO) thin-film deposited on semi-insulating gallium arsenide substrate (SI-GaAs). The amplitude of THz emission from both ITO/SI-GaAs and bare SI-GaAs substrate as a function of optical pump (i) incident angle, (ii) polarization angle, and (iii) power were investigated. The enhancement of peak amplitude of a THz pulse transmitted through the ITO/SI-GaAs sample in comparison to bare SI-GaAs substrate varied from 100% to 0% when the pump incidence angle changed from 0° to 50°. The maximum enhancement ratio of peak amplitude for a coated sample relative to the bare substrate is approximately up to 2.5 times at the minimum pump intensity of 3.6 TW/m2 and gradually decreased to one at the maximum pump intensity of 20 TW/m2. From outcomes of these studies, together with data on surface and material characterization of the samples, we show that THz emission originates from the ITO/GaAs interfaces. Further, both interface-field-induced transient current and field-induced optical rectification contribute to the observed THz signal. Observed enhancement was tentatively attributed to surface-plasmon-induced local field enhancement, coupled with constructive interference of forward and retro-reflected backward THz emission from the ITO/GaAs interfaces. The polarity-flip reported previously for very thin Au-coated GaAs was not observed. This was explained by the wide-bandgap, transparency and lower free carriers of ITO. For best results, the incident angle should be in the range of 0 to 30° and the incident polarization should be 0 to 45°. We further predict that the ITO thin film of suitable thickness or with engineered nanostructures, post-annealed under optimum conditions may lead to further enhancement of THz radiation from ITO-coated semiconductor surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number461
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • indium-tin-oxide (ITO)
  • semi-insulating gallium arsenide (SI-GaAs)
  • surface and interface
  • terahertz (THz)
  • THz emission


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